Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Incredible 2015

Well it turned out to be an amazing year of training and racing and although I'm definitely not as fast as I used to be I'd say I did pretty well this year incorporating training, racing, work and family into my very busy life. All 3 half Iron distance races I competed in this year were within 2 minutes of the same finish time and that is pretty incredible considering they all had very different challenges. IM Florida 70.3 was a slow swim, very fast bike, and hot, humid and hilly run, I struggled to a 4:36 finish. IM Calgary was a messed up long swim, cold and hilly bike, and always a challenging hilly run, again I struggled but pulled out another 4:36 race. Challenge Penticton 1/2 was a fast swim, very windy, hilly, difficult bike, and a fairly fast run but the bike knocked me on my ass for the run and I struggled to a 4:38 finish. All in all I loved racing 1/2s this year and I think I'm going to continue it next year. I don't think I'll drag the family to a destination race this year (IM Florida was a lot more expensive than I thought) but I'm excited to try the new 70.3 in Coeur d'Alene this year in June, continue to race IM Calgary 70.3 and I'll attempt the ITU Long Course in Penticton in August to see if I may be able to get close to Ironman shape again.

I had a tough time keeping the body healthy even sticking to the 1/2 distance but if things go okay next year, I may consider IM in 2017 or 2018. For now I'm happy to keep training and racing and it's very inspiring to see everyone out there wearing the Speed Rev colors. To know that it's something Amber and I started years ago and to see so many people embrace the lifestyle is amazing, I hope it continues for many years to come.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Calgary 70.3 2015

I'm tired but thankfully my biggest fan was there to greet me at the finish
I think I might have been in a funk during my last post, it's true that I've had some tough times training and racing this year but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying my life to the fullest. Amber said I sounded depressed after reading my last post and I think after twisting my ankle badly and knowing that I wasn't going to have the race I'd hoped in Calgary I probably was a little down. The ankle is healed, there is still a little lingering stiffness but that's the least of all the injuries I'm dealing with this year. I have to say that I've had an amazing summer and just concentrating on the 1/2 distance was the best decision I could have made, I'm not sure if I ever want to do another full IM.

Calgary was going to be my 'A' race but after the injury it became a 'B' race and Challenge Penticton moved into the 'A' spot. I was definitely good with that as I knew I'd need at least another 4 weeks of run training to get in the 4:30 range I was hoping for. I love the race here and it was so nice to be close to home and see a lot of friends out there on the course. The Speed Revolution team is growing and although the momentum has slowed a bit I expected that with our move to Calgary. Everyone is definitely excited to get together in Penticton and race their hearts out.

The swim was the usual mess but after a few hundred meters I found some space and settled into a groove. I headed in the direction of shore after what I thought was one of the last buoys then two volunteers turned us in the direction back into the bay. I didn't think anything of it at first, they did the same thing when the race was at Lake MacKenzie and I just followed the feet in front of me but then on the way back I swam through about 20 guys treading water asking a volunteer where they should be going. I knew I didn't cut the course so I kept swimming but then I looked at my watch at T1 and saw 35mins! What! It should not have been any more than 30mins if the course was right for the effort I was putting out. I tried to just shake it off but it did bother me a bit on the bike.

The ride was amazing, I love that bike out to Bragg Creek but you really have to be patient. I knew I couldn't get frustrated with my pace going out (it's a slow steady uphill) but it's hard to ride 50k in 1:30 when I know I've gone a lot faster. That being said I made up a lot of time on the way back and was okay with a 2:28 over the 87.3k. The week of focused bike training really paid off and although I couldn't really push hard like I'm used to I'm pleased to have not gone into the run with my legs cramping the entire time.

The run is fantastic through the weaselhead trails and being that I grew up around there and have done a ton of training around that reservoir I knew what was in store. Even though I knew what to expect I honestly hoped I would have the legs for the final 5k but things played out much like I thought they would. The first 7k were the 'warming into' the race pace, the next 7k were the 'try to hold the pace' part of the race, and the final 7k were the 'oh my God why didn't I run more' part of the race. By 14k I knew it was going to be tough to maintain my pace and I just ended up doing what I did in Florida which was run as long as I could, walk and get the HR down and start running again as soon as possible. It worked for a while but by the final 3-4kms I was really walking a lot. It was tough to take but I raced as well as I could for the entire time and I have to be happy with a 4:36.27 final time.

I really love this race and will most likely do it again next year, it's so nice to be able to eat your own food, sleep in your own bed and use your own washroom in the morning. Almost made the 4:30am wake up bearable. Next up is Challenge 1/2 and I'm going to break 4:30 there!

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Lingering Question

Enjoying some park time with the little man
It's been quite a while since I felt this way but I find myself starting to ask some important questions about continuing to train and race. Since October of last year I've been dealing with a painful calf injury and I know that all it needs is a season off but I stubbornly told my physio, 'that's not going to happen.' I'm willing to take the time off after Challenge Penticton but I refuse to give up another season of racing to heal. Now I'm starting to think about how ridiculous that is... My main goal with racing is to give myself a target in order to keep myself fit and in shape. I'm not a professional, I'm not earning a living doing this so why do I need to wake up every morning feeling like I've been hit by a truck.

Yesterday I went for a little trail run thinking it would be nice to get off the pavement and just do some easy off-road running. I started out having pain in my calf, knee and back and I probably looked like I was running very akward. I got into a bit of a grove on the trails but then 5kms into it I twisted my ankle badly.... argh!!! I hobbled back home and started to evaluate if I really want to continue to race in 2015. Nothing has been easy, taking the time to train constantly causes stress between Amber and I. My body is not responding as well to the training as it used to, I know I've run a lot faster at a lot less effort in the past. Finally Ryder has been extremely tough to deal with when I am home, of course Amber has to deal with the majority of his tantrums but hearing the screaming all day every day is emotionally draining.

I realize there is still a month until Calgary 70.3 and two months until Challenge Penticton but it's looking more like this year is not going to turn out as planned and I have to just be willing to accept that and move on. I'm going to try to workout more instead of 'train' and treat it more like a reward then work, I've only been able to get in 2 workouts a week in each discipline anyway so I may just be a participant then a racer in my events this summer. No worries things change in life and I have to be willing to accept that fact and just be happy that I'm healthy and have a loving family.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Everything I Had

Well I gave it everything I had on the day, the only real issue I had was dealing with the heat on the run. I knew what to expect so I shouldn't be surprised but it's next to impossible to train in Canada for a hot and humid race and not fall apart on the run, for me at least. The race itself was fantastic, there were too many turns on the swim which was terrible when I started running into the other swim waves in front but for the most part it was really exciting and amazing to be in an Ironman atmosphere in mid-April. I'd prepared really well, getting in quite a bit of training leading up to it but still suffering from a calf injury and not running a lot leading up to this one. I still managed to get in 5- 90km rides and 5- 21km runs and a ton of other shorter stuff. I felt good about my swimming and riding it was just going to be tough to run like I'm used to without a proper run build.

The swim was pretty rough, the course is shaped like an M so there were 6- 90' turns and the smashing and thrashing was terrible. I was right in the middle swim wave so there was no where to go but forward, it wasn't a wetsuit swim so I was okay with a 32:22. The ride was amazing, I drove the course the day before and was a little worried with all the turns but being at sea level really helped and I felt like I was flying! I was pleasantly surprised with a 2:21.15 time and thought I would be closer to 2:30 based on my training but the turns didn't slow me down too much and it broke up the monotony of the course. So I was starting the run in under 3hrs which was my goal and I still felt fairly fresh, I took in lots of calories on the bike and didn't push too hard. I had to deal with the stabbing in my quads for the first couple miles but I managed to run it out. My issue on the run was I just couldn't get my temperature down no matter what I tried, I was dumping ice, water, ice, water and I just couldn't hold a steady pace. I'd run for about 500m then have to walk a couple steps and start running again, it was very frustrating but I knew if I didn't walk for too long I could still pull out a decent race. It was 3- 7k loops with 3 big climbs each loop so there was 9 really hard points on the course and by the final loop I was really struggling. I did a lot of hill climbing in training but nothing in 28'C weather. I still managed to shuffle to a 1:38.32 half marathon but I know I'm capable of at least a 1:24 in a half IM so I'll be working for that for Calgary 70.3.

Darin Hunter

Overall Rank: 34

Div Rank: 4

Gender Rank: 34General Info

BIB 1159

Division 40-44

Age 42

State AB

Country CAN

Profession ---

Points 3315

Race Summary

Swim 00:32:22

Bike 02:21:15

Run 01:38:32

Overall 04:36:29

Division Rank: 13

Split Name Distance Split Time Race Time Pace Division Rank Gender Rank Overall Rank

Total 1.2 mi 00:32:22 00:32:22 01:40/100m 13 85 96

Division Rank: 6

Split Name Distance Split Time Race Time Pace Division Rank Gender Rank Overall Rank

Total 56 mi 02:21:15 02:56:05 23.79 mph 6 36 36

Division Rank: 4

Split Name Distance Split Time Race Time Pace Division Rank Gender Rank Overall Rank

Total 13.1 mi 01:38:32 04:36:29 07:31/mi 4 34 34

Transition Details

T1: Swim-to-bike 00:02:28

T2: Bike-to-run 00:01:52

Monday, March 23, 2015

3 Final Weeks

The Coach
It's hard to believe that winter has seem to have come and gone, I remember thinking about this race in October and feeling like I had all the time in the world to get ready for a 1/2 Ironman. Add in a high maintenance 2 year old, a job move, a house move, an injury and time seems to have flown past. Amber says I've been training really well and I'll be as ready as I can be for an early season 1/2, it's hard to go into it knowing that I'm not in my 'peak form' but I have to admit that what I think is 'peak form' probably only exists in my memory. No longer can I run out my door and bang off 4:00min/kms for 21kms and feel good afterwards, now I'm struggling to get to 4:00min/kms and not feel like I'm in a full on sprint. At least it seems like the calf is under control, I've had to adjust the number of times I run a week but at least I can run. I did a 1:30 21.1k yesterday and didn't feel too bad, I'm hoping with the warmer weather and less layers I'll be able to run faster.

I've done 4- 21km runs and a bunch of shorter stuff and 4- 90km bikes with a lot of other rides so I'm hoping I have the fitness, the trouble is always going to be the heat. I guess I've done what I can do, layering up with no fan, but it is extremely hard to simulate that hot sun burning you into a shriveled mess during that 1/2 marathon. This race reminds me a lot of training for Puerto Rico back in 2011, very early season training all inside but the difference there was Amber and I were doing the training together and didn't have a toddler to take care of, major, major difference... Regardless of the result I'm going to treat it as a fun holiday with my family and just be grateful I can do this sport and remain healthy and fit. I haven't been to Florida since I was 17 and I remember it being so beautiful and temperate, so nice to just walk around in shorts and a t-shirt all the time. I'll have the first couple days thinking about the race but then I just want to spend a week and enjoy the holiday.
March 7th and riding outside, nice!

Monday, February 23, 2015

7 Weeks and Counting

Amber and I out for a chilly Feb Mountain Bike
It's been quite the transition from GP to Calgary, things at work are a little slower than I usually prefer but I know it always takes time to develop the business so I'm practicing patience. The move to Calgary was definitely a good one for my family, we all love being closer to grandparents, especially Ryder and my folks love having him close. Training for a 1/2 Ironman in the early spring has always been a challenge but with a 2 year old it's even more challenging then you would imagine. I can't complain Ryder is 10 times easier then he was last year and Amber has had time to go to yoga 3-4 times a week which is fantastic but he is a very high energy kid and I'm glad I'm only doing 1/2 IMs this year because trying to train for an IM seems impossible given the energy requirements of IM training.

 I'm starting to get the areobic engine going again, I was training consistently in December and January and it's starting to pay off. An hour ride in December was absolute hell but now I seem to comfortably bang out a 2:30 ride on the Computrainer and run for 20mins with no problems. It's helped that the therapy on my calf is working and I'm not in absolutle pain after every ride or run. It's been a very long healing process but I'm now starting to feel like I'm going to be injury free before the race, if you ever start to feel pain in your foot don't assume it's plantar facititis and have it taken care of.
First 13.1M in 2015 and it wasn't easy
I completed a 21.1k run yesterday and although I'm a bit sore the injury is okay and I feel like I can train properly and will be ready for April 12th. The next 6-7 weeks are going to be key to being ready for IM Florida 70.3 and I'm really excited to do this race, the training reminds me of Puerto Rico; in the basement with no fan and 6-7 bottles of Gu/Water, and 3 different sets of bike gear but I have a good plan in place and I'll be as ready as I can be for a spring race. I know I won't be 100% in shape and my Calgary 70.3 and Challenge 1/2 will probably be a lot faster but I'm just excited to be doing a 1/2 distance again and I really enjoy the training. There is one thing about endurance racing that makes you feel more in shape than ever before and I'm happy to be back at it. My body responds differently then it did in my 30s but even with more needed recovery time I feel like I'm going to have a good race.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bike Binge

It's normally pretty tough for me to get on my bike with the little man around but I managed to get in some pretty good rides over the holidays. Although I only had time to ride twice this week I managed 7 rides in 14 days in Calgary, not too bad considering it was the holidays and I'd normally just be drinking coffee and laying around. It's easier when you aren't running at all, my foot is still an issue and now I'm starting to worry about Florida. I really need to start getting in some long runs soon and I can barely get in 30mins without pain. I've never had Plantar Fasciitis and I hope I never do again but it really sucks. It's over 3 months and I've done everything I can think of, I just have to be patient. I'll get back I know it's just going to take some time.

Swimming has been going okay, I'm not fast but I feel good in the pool and the bike is about the same. The speed will come later just need to keep working on that base, did a 2hr 30min ride with some guys today and it amazed me how quickly the time went by, I didn't think I could ride that long but it wasn't a problem.